Wednesday, September 30, 2009


This is another of Mr. Sangosankin's amazing batiks. The title is Initiation. The Yoruba word for "artist," ayaworan, means "a skilled performer," according to my Yoruba/English dictionary. The manipulations of wax and dye that this work required boggle the mind. It would be wonderful to see all of these batiks, displaying the Yoruba pantheon, in one room. If that can happen in connection with YACB, it will.

Consider: "Initiation, which is the discovery of a new state of consciousness and an apprenticeship in the various ways of reaching and then leaving it, is a unique experience that will not be repeated, and one that results in an irreversible modification of the person's relations with himself, with the divinity, and with society. Once this initiation has been undergone, the modification is permanent. On the other hand, the inner change that the votary undergoes when he passes from his everyday state to his possessed state, and then reverts to his former one, naturally recurs every time he goes into a trance throughout the remainder of his life. But, and all the descriptions concur on this point, the behavioral patterns characterizing trance differ according to whether it involves a novice, a recent initiate, a confirmed adept, or an officiant experienced in the trance state. The behavior of a possessed person thus varies during his career, and his trance takes different forms depending on the stage he has reached. It is therefore essential to set trance within this dynamic process when one investigates its relations with music.
Lastly, trance as an event, is linked to the successive stages of a ceremony, and does not generally occur at just any time. A possession ritual is an architecture of time also composed of various phases connected with different kinds of music. It is thus within the dynamics of the ceremony that we need to consider the relations between music and trance."

"... in my opinion opera is nothing other, in many respects, than one of the avatars of possession. For in opera possession realizes one of its essential aspects, namely the identification of the subject with the hero by the combined means of music and drama. ...Possession is fundamentally theatrical. Reciprocally, opera, as theater, is a form of possession."

Gilbert Rouget / Music and Trance

No comments: